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Ph.D. Degree Journey: A Mighty Step Forward

It is a cold Friday Morning here in Newfoundland, Canada and it is a different morning because I am officially a Ph.D candidate - acing every stage of the comprehensive exams at a single attempt with no conditions. This journey has felt like forever, with difficult moments that had me questioning why I even needed a PhD degree but I can finally see that degree on the horizon. Yes, Dr Margaret Ojochide Aligbe is now within reach.

I am super excited and in the words of Kanye West - can't tell me nothing, at least for now because I need some moments to catch my breathe and bask in every bit of my feelings because this has been quite a journey; at this moment, I sit and envelop myself in such depth of happiness and gratitude. I bask in this achievement which is such a huge step forward for my Ph.D.

The reading list alone made my heart sink because as much as I enjoy reading, academic reading is a different thing altogether. Plus the fact that you had to think critically after in-depth reading and write something that is at the very least original - no plagiarism. Preparing for my comprehensive examinations was different than previous class work, research, writing proposals, or motivation letters. It was more intense because I had to try my best to read as much as I could to help me write something "worthy" and equip me with knowledge for the oral part-which was the final leg.

I would admit that my love for reading and writing played a great part in helping me survive the experience because I could read huge volumes of books from front to back (examples are Books like A Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela; Hit Makers by Derek Thompson; My Life by Bill Clinton; A Promised Land by Barack Obama and the likes). The patience to labor through those pages fills me with so much joy and that became the same patience I used to grind-push through those "mind-sinking" reading lists.

When I was applying for Ph.D. opportunities, halfway through my MSc degree at Uppsala University, one of my referees who was my thesis supervisor, asked me a crucial question about my "why" and he advised me to thoroughly think through it. Every time I hit a brick wall in this PhD journey I remember my why and every time I win in this journey, I remember that "why". That has been my surest anchor through the tears, doubts and every single thing I have been through that words cannot explain.

I am deeply joyful and ready for the next stage of this process. My Ph.D. is so close - within reach. I thank God Almighty for His grace and mercies. I thank my family and friends who have seen my tears and encouraged me through it all. I have renewed courage and am even more energized to finish this marathon.

My name is Margaret Ojochide Aligbe and a Ph.D. CANDIDATE.

Well, imposter syndrome - you be damned!

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